I recently decided to take an educational workshop on Mental Health in Schools offered by our school board. While it was not directly related to Adult ESL, I felt it would enhance my learning and better equip me to understand adults with similar problems.
There was quite a mix of participants: TAs, and both elementary and high school teachers. At the second session, a young woman asked if the seat was taken at the table where I was sitting by myself, and I invited her to join me. She looked familiar, and I inquired as to whether we had taken a workshop together before, or if she had attended one of the P.D. Days at TESL Ottawa. I was naturally assuming she was a teacher. She then said she knew who I was by my voice. I was her teacher over 15 years ago! While I cannot remember all of the names of the students I have taught over the years, I’ve never forgotten a face.
She was now working as a Teacher’s Aide in an elementary school, a position she has held for 7 years. As it turned out, she was taking a course on a topic that she had far more experience with on a daily basis than I did; in all likelihood, our roles as teacher and student could have been reversed. Needless to say, I was happy and proud to see a former student doing so well and settled into her new life in Canada.
Have you ever come across a former student in a new context? I’d love to hear about it.
Linda Davis has been teaching various levels of Adult ESL classes for 17 years. She has been the President of the TESL Ottawa Affiliate Chapter for the past 4 years.